Wednesday, February 23, 2011
boing boing reports: [edited]
Drone manufacturer AeroVironment has demonstrated their "Nano-Hummingbird" tiny spy plane. The prototype is approximately the size of a real hummingbird, weighs the same as an AA battery, and is outfitted with a video camera. AeroVironment is working on the device for the Department of Defense, 'natch. From PhysOrg:
Manager of the project, Matt Keennon, said it had been a challenge to design and build the spybot because it “pushes the limitations of aerodynamics.” The specifications given to the firm by the Pentagon included being able to hover in an 8 km/h wind gust and being able to fly in and out of buildings via a normal door.
The spybot was developed for the US military's research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The hummingbird appearance is intended to disguise the bot, although it would look decidedly out of place and would attract attention in most places in the world since hummingbirds are not found outside of the Americas.
(The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's) head of the Nano Air Vehicles (NAV) program, Dr Todd Hylton, said the successful flight tests pave the way for new vehicles that resemble small birds and match their agility. The new drone is a departure from existing NAVs, which in the past have always resembled helicopters or planes.